Google began rolling out end-to-end encryption at the end of last year for select Google Messages beta users who have enabled Chat, Google’s implementation of RCS. End-to-end encryption ensures that conversations stay encrypted from when they leave your smartphone, to when they arrive at the other end. There is no server-side decryption, meaning that data can’t be collected in the middle from the servers that pass your messages along. This is a selling point of many texting applications like Signal as it’s a major step towards ensuring the privacy of a user, and now it’s finally rolling out to more users who use Google Messages.
To ensure that you’re using end-to-end encryption, keep an eye out for the padlock symbol in your conversations. Both members of the conversation will need to ensure that they have “chat features” enabled, which enables Rich Communication Services (RCS) in Google Messages. If either user falls back to SMS, then your messages will not be end-to-end encrypted. It’s possible you might not have it immediately, and it may take a few days to show up. Once it has been activated on your device, you’ll see a blue message bubble in your conversations telling you about “more security in chats” with a link to find out more.
Other features that were announced earlier today should also be rolling out, including the ability to star messages that are sent in Google Messages. Starring them means that they can be easily accessed later on, and can be good to mark information for later retrieval, such as a Wi-Fi password. RCS is poised to be an SMS successor, and introducing end-to-end encryption is yet another advantage over SMS that it can add to its repertoire. Be sure to check out the other features that have been added across multiple Google apps as well!
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